The Midlands is off to a strong start in 2013 with more homes selling and the number of homes on the market returning to more normal levels. Some key highlights from the S.C. Realtors January report:
What it is: Increase in home sales in Columbia in January, compared with the same month last year.
How it compares: At 524 homes sold for the month, that’s nearly 100 more than January last year and nearly 175 more than sold in January 2011.
What it means: This solidifies the real estate recovery in the region in a month that typically is slow on sales leading into the traditional spring selling season. After a dismal 2011, the yearly increase in 2012 was 17 percent.
What it is: Increase in the number of pending sales – homes that are under contract but have not yet closed – in the Columbia area in January, compared with January 2012.
How it compares: At 707 homes pending closing, that’s about 175 more than this time last year and 275 more than this time in 2011.
What it means: Strong pending sales are an indicator that future months will have big sales gains because many of those sales that are pending now will closed by then.
What it is: Median sales price for all homes that sold in the Midlands in January
How it compares: That’s 8.4 percent below the median price in January 2012, which was $144,250.
What it means: The drop could be an indication that sellers are dropping their asking prices to get rid of homes that have been sitting on the market or that they need to sell quickly. It also could mean sales have picked up for homes in the lowest price ranges. It’s the lowest monthly median price since March 2011.
What it is: The months supply of inventory on the Columbia market in January.
How it compares: It’s a 25 percent drop from January 2012, when the market had more than a year’s supply of homes for sale. The supply level peaked in April 2011 with a 16.6-month supply.
What it means: The sharp drop in inventory brings the market back toward a level playing field for buyers and sellers in what has been a buyers’ market for years. Once the number hits about six months, the market will be considered balanced.
What’s hot now?
The hottest home sales categories for January in the Columbia area included:
• Homes in the $100,000 and below and $200,001 to $300,000 price ranges
• Homes with two or fewer bedrooms and four bedrooms or more
• Condos and single-family homes
Jan. 2012: 2,950
Jan. 2013: 3,454
Jan. 2012: $145,000
Jan. 2013: $145,500
Of note: Only two areas had small home sales declines, including the Hilton Head Island area and the western Upstate. Seven out of 16 regions in the state saw declines in median sales price. Faring worst was Cherokee County.